|I can't believe my time in Myanmar has come to an end. Myanmar definitely has had the stongest impression on me in whole my trip and has a big place in my heart. Both living and travelling here have been equally enjoyable although very different. Deciding to return to Yangon and work at Growing Together was the best decision on my whole trip.
Being Teacher Sam was extremely rewarding and has taught me a lot. A lot about myself, children and people in general. Especially as I have no young children in my family or had much interaction with them as an adult. I learnt how receptive and easily influenced children are to the people and world around them. Its amazing (and alittle scary) what they pick-up when you dont even know they are paying attention! Lucky I was on my best behaviuor at all times and so the children at Thaketa are not cursing left right and centre!!! I also learnt what a big kid I really am. Class was often fun especially changing the teaching activities into games or going into school early to play hide and seek with the earlybirds!!!
All the children were a joy to teach especially after I got to know each of their little characters. There were good days and difficult days as with any job I guess. Some days seemed impossible, where the children just couldnt concentrate. The heat and moon being factors in this we decided! However most days were fun and lots of laughs were had with the children and at the children! They are certainly entertaining.
I taught the children english using flashcards, pictures and games. But my favourite time was storytime and also conversation with the older class!!! Adding different kinds of games and some art certainly made the class more enjoyable and was a learning curve too. Some trial and error to find out what works. The children always seemed to love new games and ideas but sometimes got over-excited!
All the kids were lovely and it was hard not to have favourites. I had many and would of gladly brought them back in backpack!!!! So many of the children were such beautiful little things inside and out and leaving them was very hard. A few tears were shed after just 10 weeks at the school. Its hard not to get attached to them.
Living in Myanmar itself I saw a different side. Life is very difficult and a struggle. I felt this more in Myanmar than anywhere else I have visited. The Burmese work hard to make ends meet. Everyone gets on with daily life still smiling. I feel people have resigned to the political situation after nearly 30 years of suppression. It is not surprising. Life goes on and people have to be very careful what they say. It's not like in the West where you can disagree with politics. Disagree and you're under lock and key.
Many travellers come to Myanmar see the sights and go home not seeing the full picture. It's hard to with places being off limit to foreigners, controlled by the military government. I noted from living in Yangon how corruption is deeply interwoven into the culture and that many things have a price. From having to pay "administation fees" when I eventually found a flat is just one example.
Like many places in SE Asia, people do not like to disappoint and say no! This can make life quite confusing sometimes and you dont know whether you are coming or going!
The Burmese themselves are genuine warm, loyal and hospitable people. From the ones met on the street to my good friends Anya and Sparrow at the school. They do anything to help, are extremely considerate and also fun to be around. The people really did make my stay here and why I feel I can call Burma home. The commute to school always put my day to a good start. From the people I saw on a daily basis welcoming me such as the old watch repairer and the snack-stall owner who would always cast me a wave and good morning, to the kids in the street blowing kisses and shaking hands and trying out their english, to the odd random person on the bus giving me a flower or blessing me for god knows what!!! People always surprised me with their kindness. There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path and they were certainly examples of this especially in the conditions many of them lived.